I have to say that the middle aged couple I saw heading for the opera in Potters Fields last night looked far from 'champagne swilling suits' - they were wearing anoracks and carrying what looked suspiciously like a thermos flask in their bag.
Potters Field is a Public Park - key word here - Public. It is for members of the Public to enjoy, not for Corporate Shindigs. Local residents such as Lil Patrick battled to have the park created. Hyde Park is a Royal Park and when a tiny tiny percentage of it is used 'privately' then this barely impacts on park users in comparison to the take-over of a tiny piece of green space such as Potters Field. If Tower Bridge wasn't there to look at then no-one would be interested in taking over the park for Corporate Events. How many applications are made for Corporate Events to be held in Deptford Park, Fordham Park, Pepys Park, Ruskin Park ... oh, none ... there's a surprise.
I have sat in many many meetings over the years on the subject of Potters Field Park and at the end of the day Money Talks, brown envelopes matter. Living beside Potters Field when an Event is taking place is unpleasant (to put it mildly) and often forces Mrs Paul and I to vacate our ancestral seat for the sake of sanity.
I posted earlier in the thread in good faith. I had, and still have no idea who or what Norton Rose is. I would also have hoped that a debate which contains legitimate but opposing views could have been more constructive. But then I am a Daily Mail reader ......
The issues raised are far from new. They include:
1. How do you achieve a mixed population in the Centre of a city. This is supposed to be good as residential community contributes life and supposts local business. Only businesses, and the streets are empty and dead. But too much "evening economy" (examples like Soho in the 90s, Leeds, Romford and Watford)and residents feel overwhelmed. Outdoor noise, which includes events on open space, or people dispersing from late night venues, is a particular problem for residents in summer.
2. What is for green space for. "Quiet relaxation" and casual sport, mainly for those who live in the area, or a destination entertainmant venue. In a small space you cant have both.
In both cases the solution is to find an appropriate balance. That in part is what the licensing process is about, and it is perfectly right that local residents should put forward their concerns and be heard. Not least because other "stakeholders", if they thought about it, would support the idea of a healthy residential community.
The Balance between "quiet recreation" and entertainment is an issue in parks across South London. The pressure on green space is more intense the more valuable the space is. There will be a chain of thought that sees public space as meaning free in the sense that since no one seems to own it they might as well take it over. But it is owned by all of us and we need to share. Events alongside quiet relaxation might be possible in larger parks but not in one the size of Potters Fields. Green space helps make London liveable and I would hope that the duty to protect the right of quiet relaxation is on that the Potters Field Trustees understand and accept.
Ironically I think that Potters Fields would have been better off being managed by the Council. They would have heard the same arguments across the borough and so would probably have been more sympathetic to the views of residents. Plus, of course, local residents vote. If what James' intervention suggests, and that some of the more agressive posts have come from undeclared interested parties, it is a real pity. Residents really dont have the same voice or resources as organised commercial interests. This Forum is one of the few places individual voices can be heard. I really hope that those interests who seem to expect to dominate a debate can stop, listen and consider the long term interests of the area. (And maybe go to Westminster Council and hear their experience of giving out an increased number of late licences in the early 90s.)
I really doubt that the Potters Field Management will allow rowdy events on the site and one gets the feeling that certain local residents are acting as if the site was theirs and are acting far from selflessly when it comes to the site. Many many people use it and are looking forward to the many events, especially opera etc and it would be far better to get involved in a positive way rather than throw your toys out of your pram!
Living nearly adjacent to Potters Fields, I'd like to congratulate Steven Cornford on a successful first few months. The litter problem has been significantly addressed (tho not quite solved) and I've suffered no extra disturbance from noise or drunks than before PF opened. The publicity events like the the Shrek 3 photo shoot and the giant swimmer add to the quirkiness of living here.
The begging adjacent to the park at the foot of Tower Bridge, however, is a disgrace to London that the police refuse to fix.